How to Set Better Goals That Stick
How can you expect to get what you want if you don’t know what that is?
One of the biggest pieces to achieving success comes down to knowing - in very specific terms - what you are trying to accomplish, and then laying out the next steps to get there. It’s true that people without goals aren’t as successful as those who set them, and people who don’t write down their goals are much less likely to accomplish them.
There are so many people frustrated in their situation but without an idea of what they would change. They haven’t taken the time to think about what they want for their life and family, yet they continue along unhappily or underachieving day after day.
Think about it this way, you go to work every day, commute an hour each way to show up on time, stay late and put in the extra effort without being asked. But you haven’t thought in detail about the track you want your career to take or the specific steps it will take to get there. You just go along with the day-to-day flow.
Or maybe you have thought about it, but you don’t have a plan for stewardship of your income and assets that are a big part of the fruits of your labor. You are working hard but not maximizing your efforts by spending aimlessly and without purpose.
For example, imagine you wanted to get in shape, so you start exercising regularly but without a specific goal or a plan. Wanting to ‘get in shape’ is your goal and ‘exercising regularly’ is your plan. Think about the change in accountability and motivation if you change that to – I want to lose 15 pounds in the next 3 months, and to do so I will work out 5 times a week, running 5 miles Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and strength/cross training for one hour on Tuesday and Thursday.
Now imagine a similar example with your money. You want more financial security, so you imagine you will try to save a little more each month. Saving a little more each month is a valuable step in the process to be sure, but you will need to be specific and intentional with how much to save and where to put that money so that it works for you. You'll need to work backward from setting very specific goals, down to the amount you will save each month and exactly which type of account you will use.
You can see there is a powerful difference. However more often than not we see people get frustrated with their lack of ability to ‘get ahead’ or ‘get results’ and give up. They use excuses like ‘things are just too expensive’, ‘I don’t have the time’ and ‘I’ll start that when..’.
Goal setting doesn’t have to be hard or overwhelming. I’m going to break it down for you into simple steps that you can take to get started, update your plan, and stay accountable.
The first step in goal setting is to visualize - think about where you are going and that you are (no question about it) going to get there. Then lay out the next steps – one at a time. Once you realize what it is you want, your mind will automatically adapt and start to see things and opportunities all around that move you closer to what you are trying to accomplish. You will see the things to focus on, once you start looking for them. Think about recent conversations you may have had, if you had no intention during that meeting you likely missed opportunities to further your goals and to help the other party meet theirs. Something was said that could have been explored further or prompted another question to dig deeper into a specific topic of interest. Opportunities to provide introductions to people, to share knowledge or ways of thinking.
The purpose of setting goals is not only in achievement but also the journey. It’s the transformation that happens as you grow and educate yourself and help others in the process. It’s an amazing feeling when you realize that your success doesn’t depend on anyone else, it depends on you.
What categories or parts of your life should you set goals for?
Track your goals in these seven major areas:
- Career or Business
- Family or Free Time
- Health and Appearance
- Personal Growth
- Making a Difference
What are the steps to setting and accomplishing goals?
- Think about them - Visualize
- Write them down
- Share them
- Track your progress regularly
Sharing your goals and tracking them regularly are just as important as thinking about them initially and writing them down. Doing these 2 things will help you stay accountable to yourself. Find an accountability partner, someone you respect and trust and tell them about your plans and ask for their help. Check in with them weekly to give a detailed update on the progress you’ve made and the things you are currently working on. This is truly powerful.
The Fine Print.
As with most things in life, success is in the details.
Here are a few additional tips to consider.
- Your goals must be measurable.
- Write them down in detail. Think about the example we shared above, and be as detailed as possible.
- Create a break-through goal. Think big!
- Re-read your goals at least weekly.
- Visualize. Picture yourself living your ideal life and dreams, your mind is a powerful force.
- Welcome the considerations, fears, and roadblocks that come naturally along the way.
- Break-it-down. Remember success isn’t achieved overnight, it’s a gradual process and transformational journey.
It’s important to allow yourself freedom in the process – avoid perfectionism and keep in mind that goals are truly just our best guesses at the moment.
There are a lot of things that you can spend time on, and most of them eventually aren’t going to matter at all, setting goals and being intentional can help you live your life with purpose.
Do you have any goals to share or helpful tips that have worked along the way? Please send a reply, I’d love to hear from you!